Setup For A Tortoise Enclosure Indoor- Ideal Home For Your Tortoise

Tortoise Enclosure Indoor

Generally, tortoises should be kept outdoors. Keeping a tortoise inside a room can be a tough job. You have to build a perfect Tortoise Enclosure Indoor. An enclosure for the tortoise is like a home for a tortoise. So, you should realize the fact that it should be acceptable and comfortable for the captive tortoise at the same time.

An indoor enclosure should consist of a natural environment suitable for the tortoise. The goal of building a perfect indoor enclosure is to keep them safe and away from outside harm. But most of the tortoises are large in their size. So, it can be hard to provide them with enough space for hatching or roaming.

Apart from all these, an indoor tortoise enclosure should be something where you can create multiple temperature zones for your pet. This article covers all the details regarding how you should create an indoor tortoise enclosure. Here, we have shared the setup of the enclosure suitable for the species like Hermann, Spur-thigh, and other Mediterranean species.

Let’s start.

How To Create An Easy Indoor Tortoise House- DIY Tortoise Enclosure

The thumb rule for making an indoor enclosure for a tortoise is to make it spacious enough. When a tortoise becomes adult and full-grown, it needs a spacious floor to roam around. Therefore, you need to recall that the enclosure should be at least 50 gallons in its volume.

Tortoise Enclosure Indoor

Also, the enclosure should consist of ventilators. Tortoises need heat during the daytime. You can keep ceramic tiles on the floor of the enclosure as ceramic tiles soak up more heat than normal tiles. Don’t worry! You don’t have to spend much to create an enclosure.

You can use your old book self, or an old cabinet with glass doors to build the enclosure. These things are enough for some of the unique homemade tortoise house designs.

Building an easy indoor tortoise house is surely a fun job. But, you have to be careful about a lot of things. Tortoises are special pets. Therefore, they need special care. You need to use sophisticated materials to build the enclosure.

Types Of Enclosures For Indoor Settings

Indoor settings should consist of special types of enclosures. Among them, standard rectangular glass aquariums, custom-built enclosures, vivarium are quite popular.

Best Enclosure For Your Tortoise

You can build the tortoise enclosure with metals, but a wooden enclosure will be perfect for them. If you want to build an indoor enclosure for the turtle, you should use wood to make it. The best wood for a tortoise enclosure is hardwood. If you don’t get one, try to use treated plywood. Plywood can’t be damaged due to moisture.

You can keep a turtle in an indoor enclosure for the first few years of its life. Hatchlings are special and they are exposed to outside predators. So, it is best to keep the hatchlings indoors. Also, an ill turtle must be kept in an indoor enclosure. They need extra care.

What To Put In An Indoor Tortoise Enclosure

You need to place those things that are suitable for the tortoise, things that provide comfort to the creature.


You should cover the floor of the enclosure with substrates. The substrate must be 6 cm deep. You don’t need to change it daily. Change it after a couple of months. Turtles are cold-blooded animals. So, they need special substrates.

The best substrate for a turtle is topsoil. Avoid using sand as the substrate. Turtles can swallow it and end up in dangerous situations like respiratory issues.

Food And Water Bowl

Always keep food and water bowls for the little one. You need to ensure that you place the food bowl away from the heat. Keep the bowl on a tile or a slate. In this way, when the tortoise eats, it will not go into the substrate.

The water bowl should also be kept away from heat. Remember to clean the water bowl daily. The bowl should be stable and shallow so that the turtle will not drown in the container.

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UVB Light

A UVB light is extremely recommended for a turtle. These lights produce Vitamin D in the body of the tortoise. Therefore, the turtle can grow calcium in it, thus making its bones and shells strong.

Even if you have organized a UVB light for your special pet, never forget to provide it with an ample amount of sunlight. So, it is best to create an indoor enclosure beside a large window of your home. But, carefully protect it from heavy rainfall or other large predators.

If you have turtle species like Mediterranean and African turtles, you can bring a 10% or 12% UVB tube. A UVB tube provides low light. On the other hand, use a reflector bulb with a UVB tube for additional lights. You can also use ceramic bulbs for increasing the temperature. Don’t forget to use a reflector cover both for the tube and bulb.

Ample Amount Of Heat

It is best to use ceramic bulbs for providing an ample amount of heat to the turtle. You can use infrared emitters. Besides, other options are IR lamps, halogen bulbs, and night-time bulbs. You can use these lights as a safety measure.

Halogen bulbs are specially made for reptiles and vivarium use. Halogen bulbs should be used during the daytime. On the other hand, night bulbs are made for night uses. Although tortoises do not always need a heat lamp overnight unless the temperature of the room decreases too much. The heat lamps should be turned on at least for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Heat Mat

You may put a heat mat in the enclosure. But never place it on the substrate or the floor. Instead, place the heat mat on the walls of the enclosure. Heat mats are useful as they provide low heat overnight. So, if you are using a heat mat, put it under the control of a thermostat. It will prevent the sudden increase of heat. The increased heat is extremely dangerous for a turtle.

Light Timer

A light timer for a tortoise enclosure is always recommended. But you can use it to automate the light, especially when you are not at home.

Tortoise Enclosure Indoor

Waterproof Liners

A waterproof liner prevents the floor soak in the water easily. Also, if you try to replace the substrate, you can lift it easily with the help of the liners.

Hides For The Turtle

Always place turtle hides in the enclosure to make the turtle feel safe and secure. Turtles are generally shy in nature and they need to hide at times. Make sure that the temperature of the turtle hide is pleasant and comfortable.

A Hygrometer And A Thermometer

Tortoises are of various species. So, every species need a different kind of humidity. It is very important to adjust the humidity in the enclosure. You may spread a little amount of water around the enclosure. Also, keep special moss for the turtle hides. This will enhance the humidity of the enclosure.

Keep watching the thermometer regularly for preventing the enclosure from getting too hot or too cold.

Furniture That Is Suitable For The Tortoise

Small pebbles, tunnels, and caves can be added to an indoor turtle enclosure to make it more interesting. Also, you may put rock piles to give a wild look to the enclosure.

Plants To Put On My Tortoise Table

You have to put some of the special plants in the tortoise enclosure. Make sure the plants you grow in the enclosure are not toxic to your pet.

Here are some plants that you can put on your tortoise table.

  • Lemon balm
  • Plantains
  • Turtle vine
  • Aloe Vera
  • Geraniums
  • Cactus
  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Tropical hibiscus
  • Jade plant
  • Yucca

These plants are very helpful to adjust the humidity of the enclosure. Apart from these plants, you can keep small weeds and organic seeds in the tortoise enclosure.

How To Create A Tortoise Enclosure Outdoor

Keeping a turtle outdoors is the best. You can have enough possibilities to make a perfect outdoor enclosure for tortoises rather than making an indoor tortoise enclosure. When a turtle becomes an adult and full-grown, you better bring it to an outdoor enclosure as it needs warmer weather to survive.

Creating Ideal Outdoor Enclosures For A Tortoise

There are different kinds of outdoor enclosures that you can build for your pet. Each enclosure has its own advantages. Besides, if you think of keeping your turtle outdoors, you must create an ample amount of room for its hibernation. They are cold-blooded reptiles and they need to go for hibernation as the temperature starts to decrease.

So, be fully prepared and build an ideal outdoor enclosure before you bring a turtle home. Some tropical turtles do not need hibernation. So, you better keep them indoors.

Types Of Outdoor Enclosures For A Tortoise


A greenhouse can be a perfect outdoor enclosure for a turtle if you can add proper ventilation with it. Greenhouses tend to grow hot faster and overheating is not at all good for reptiles like turtles.

Also, you can add a shed to control the temperature of the greenhouse.

Tortoise Run

Tortoise runs are specially made outdoor enclosures. They are perfect for warm summer days. a tortoise run provides a safe place for the turtles. They can enjoy sunlight naturally in a tortoise run. Make sure you build a visual barrier to prevent the turtles from seeing outside. These creatures get distressed so easily and harm themselves.


If you are planning to make a shed for your turtle, you have to ensure some things. Add windows to provide proper ventilation in the enclosure. Organize a heat source and provide enough lighting in the shed. Add UV lights, ceramic bulbs, and others. You may also join some insulation to control the temperature.

What To Maintain While Building An Outdoor Enclosure


Location is an important factor while you are building an outdoor enclosure for your tortoise. Select a location that is not too much cold or too much hot. A place where the sun moves all day is an ideal location for an outdoor enclosure.

Size of the Enclosure

An outdoor enclosure must be large and spacious. It is best to decide the space according to the size of the turtle. For a small turtle, a medium enclosure is enough. If you bring home an adult tortoise, you must create large outdoor enclosures and if needed, you have to extend them.

Tortoise Enclosure Indoor
Outdoor Enclosure

Dig Proofing

Turtles have a habit to dig the ground. For preventing them from escaping, an outdoor enclosure should be at least 14 inches deep in the ground.

Supply of Electricity

Organize an ample amount of electricity supply in the enclosure. Provide UV lights and heat lamps. Therefore, the best you can do is to build an outdoor enclosure near the house so that you organize the supply of electricity simply.

Drainage System

There should be a proper drainage system within an outdoor enclosure. You need to ensure that there should be no stagnant water in the enclosure. Clogged water in an enclosure can lead to respiratory infections of the turtles. You can make small holes at the sides within the enclosure for a proper drainage system.


Properly cover the roof when you are about to build an outdoor enclosure for the tortoise. You can make small holes for ventilation. But make sure it is made of solid materials so that predators cannot reach out the turtle.


Make such walls so that the turtle can’t climb it up. Make sure the walls are also dig-proofed like the floor. The walls of an outdoor enclosure should be 2 feet in height. As for the adult and big tortoises, you need to make the walls a bit longer.

Few Important Tips To Those Who Are Planning To Bring Turtles As Pets

  • While you are buying a turtle from your local store or online, ask the seller if it is a wild one or a captive-bred one. Each kind needs a different type of care. If possible, adopt a turtle from a rescue organization.
  • Never try to catch a turtle from the wild. Many countries have restrictions and strict laws on it.
  • Research thoroughly before you bring a turtle home as your pet. The weather may not be suitable for the turtle you bring home.
  • Never release a tortoise in the wild all of a sudden. They may not handle the sudden change. You can hand it over to a rescue organization.
  • Pay attention to the proper nutrition of the turtle. Always maintain a well-balanced diet for them. You can try frozen foods for them. They include crickets, krill, grasshoppers, and small snails. Turtles can also beautifully adjust to live foods like worms, insects, and small fishes. As for green leaves, you can feed a turtle with lettuce and dandelion leaves.

Do Tortoises Need Extra Lighting And Heat?

Well, it depends on the species of the turtles. They are cold-blooded reptiles. They need heat and lighting from an external source to survive. Most of the turtles do not need extra lighting and heat until the temperature decreases too much.

Maintain temperature around 15 degrees to 18 degrees overnight. That is enough for a tortoise.

Tortoise Table Vs. Vivarium – Which Is Best?

Again, it depends on the species of the turtles. A tortoise table is much better for the species like Hermann, Greek Spur, Horsfield, and Marginated turtles. These turtles adjust themselves finely in a tortoise table.

Tortoise tables have many advantages too. They do not consist of any lid so the turtles get enough ventilation. Excessive humidity is dangerous for the above-mentioned turtles and a tortoise table provides so much better humidity than a vivarium.

On the other hand, a vivarium has different types of advantages. Vivarium includes a metal ventilation system that has become immensely popular in recent days. Unlike a tortoise table, an enclosed vivarium has so much better heat that is ideal for those reptiles. The only con of an enclosed vivarium is that you can’t provide enough ventilation to the turtles. So, if you are planning to buy a vivarium, you have to be more careful.

So, basically, both options are good and you need to arrange everything according to the turtle whom you are planning to bring home.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should I put in my indoor tortoise enclosure?

An indoor tortoise enclosure should be large. There should be enough space for hatching. You can place things that are suitable for your tortoise. They include

  • Plants like tropical hibiscus, Aloe Vera, Yucca, jade plants, and others.
  • A heat source for the tortoise, is a thermostat.
  • Food and water bowl for the tortoise.
  • A substrate that is safe for the pet.
  • UV light.

These things are appropriate for an indoor tortoise enclosure.

2. Can tortoises be kept indoors?
Ans. You can keep tortoises indoors to keep them safe from other large animals. Also, keeping tortoises indoors keeps them warm. However, you have to make a suitable enclosure for the tortoise with ample space. You can also keep more than one tortoise in one enclosure if they are of the same species.

3. How big should an indoor tortoise enclosure be?
Ans. The minimum size of an indoor enclosure should be 3 ft. X 2 ft. (91 cm X 61 cm). But, if you have a juvenile tortoise, the enclosure should be larger than this size. The sides of the enclosure should be solid and at least 20 cm or 8 inches.

4. Can I keep a tortoise in a vivarium?
Ans. An enclosed vivarium is good enough for all species of tortoises. You have to put adequate ventilation in the vivarium. You need to place plants like Aloe Vera, Yucca, and jade plants in the vivarium. Besides, you need to place food and water bowls, hides, UV lights, thermostats, and other necessary things in the vivarium.

To Sum It Up

Prepare a home that is perfect for your special pet with all these ideas that I have shared in the article. If you want to know more, you can always talk to an expert. Be fully prepared and welcome the new member of the house.

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